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It’s the start of the year and you might want to get into fitness so I’m sharing what I normally do as part of telling my recovery story and maybe that will be helpful to you. If you missed the first parts, you can check them out: The CyclistYK2HRSwim, Bike, Run, Nap, and Typical Workout. I shared a bit about this part of my journey but there’s a little more to the story.

About a year into my recovery journey, I found that even though I was exercising regularly I wasn’t making a lot of progress losing all the extra weight I had gained over the years. I lost some weight and then.. stuck. I was holding steady around 235lbs and feeling a little frustrated.  Something needed to change.

Abs are made in the kitchen. That’s it.

After several experiments, I found that cardio is not made in the kitchen. Neither is the ability to swim stronger or bike up hills faster.  Sexiness may or may not be made in the kitchen; it depends on the day.

After checking around for tools, I got into MyFitnessPal and started tracking what I eat. I wasn’t being obsessive about food or starving myself, I just didn’t have a clue how much I was ingesting. Slowly I adjusted my total calories and began to be mindful of my diet. Instead of eating for the moment, I began to eat for the journey.

As an Albertan (that’s in Canada), I was a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  I began to learn more about eating healthy – not with some weird diet but just a more balanced diet. I started to cut back on the amount of meat I was eating. The I watched the documentary Vegucated. By the end of that documentary, I gave up meat for good. I’ve never felt better.

I think the reason this big change has made such a difference in my life is because I wasn’t just after a short term gain. I needed a new way of life. I did drop weight while also getting stronger, faster, fitter – down to 198lbs – but the best part is I now have a greater sense of integrity. I consider myself a man of compassion and conviction and switching to a plant-based diet is more in harmony with who I am as a person.

A bonus change has been that my enjoyment of food has opened way up. Food I would have never had before, just on principle, I now  have part of my life. Except brussel sprouts because they’re from Satan. At the same time, my cravings for treats has dropped way off. I’m a new person!

In an upcoming post, I’ll share some what works for me when it comes to food. Meanwhile, here are some good resources I have found helpful in making this lifestyle change.

Forks Over Knives – Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called this doc “ a film that can save your life.”

Vegucated – This documentary follows three meat-and-dairy-loving New Yorkers as they try to stick to a vegan diet for six weeks.

Hungry for Change – The film also de-bunks diet and weight loss myths, as well as explains ways to stop bad habits and get healthy.

Food, Inc. – A look at the practices of global food production that puts profit before your well-being.